At one point in our lives, most of us have probably heard of Abraham Maslow. Maslow was a psychologist who wanted to understand people and what motivates them. His belief was that people possess a set of motivation systems that are related to unconscious desires and rewards.
Maslow stated that we are driven to meet certain needs. When those needs are met, we are then motivated to meet a higher level of needs. This formed the basis of his “hierarchy of needs”.
Through his studies of people, Maslow identified 5 basic stages of needs that exist within a person. These needs ranged from our most basic needs of survival to a higher level of self-actualization. While everyone has the potential to move up or down the stages of needs, most people fail to reach the top due to the inability to meet certain needs.
The base level of this hierarchy consists of “basic needs”. Maslow reckoned that the most basic of needs for a person was that of food, water, shelter and warmth. These are the core needs that prepping seeks to address in the beginning stages. Preppers realize the uncertainty of the world they live in and take the steps necessary to ensure that the most basic of needs are met through the stocking of food, water and gear. The gear can range from blankets and a house to tents and sleeping bags, but foundation of prepping is that our most basic of needs are met.
The second level in Maslow’s hierarchy is that of safety. This level consists of the need for security, stability and the attempt to remove fear. This is the next level of prepping. As we advance in storing the resources to meet our most basic of needs, the prepper begins moving to the next level of wanting to protect those basic resources that have been accumulated. The prepper will begin to find a secure shelter that can be hidden away from people or defended. The prepper will look into tools and methods in which to protect those basic needs and provide a sense of stability to their lives.
A sense of belonging constitutes the third level of Maslow’s hierarchy. At this level, people attempt to fulfill the need of belonging to a social group. This could consist of friends or family, but the driving factor here is for the person to not be alone. Many preppers find this stage at some point in their life when they are faced with the realization that they could be trying to survival alone. There is a sense of security in known that alone you will not be betrayed, but when a person is alone there is no one to help you when you need it. In a group of like minded people, the prepper has a greater chance of survivability when there are many who share the knowledge needed to ensure survival.
The fourth level of the pyramid is the need of esteem. At this level, Maslow placed our need for self-esteem, achievements, mastery, independence, dominance, etc. This level can look different for preppers, but when the prepper has studied long enough, they will move to this level where those around them will look to them for leadership. They are often the most senior members of the group and will guide the group in a direction that further develops them and expands their ability to keep each other safe and repel threats to their safety.
The fifth level is that of self-actualization. Here, people realize their own potential and obtain a sense of fulfillment for what they have accomplished. Maslow figured that only 1 out of every 100 people would every reach this level. At this level, the prepper will see that their hard work and sacrifice has paid off to not only ensure their survival but also the survival of those they care about. The prepper will reach their peak of self growth.